Ukrainians rescue Afghans after US and Canada decline: Report – Yahoo News

A contingent of Ukrainian soldiers rescued a group of Afghan translators after U.S. and Canadian forces declined, according to a new report.

“Everybody was surprised,” Jawad Haqmal, a 33-year-old Afghan who worked with the Canadian military during the war in Afghanistan, told Toronto’s Globe and Mail. “I tried for the last month to have someone get us. We asked the Americans, the Canadians, the Qataris, everybody — and no solution. They were scared to come out.”

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President Joe Biden’s administration has faced questions over the last two weeks about why other militaries at Kabul airport seemed more aggressive in deploying around the capital city to collect Afghans or Western citizens. U.S. forces have held the airport while processing the arrivals of approximately 122,000 evacuees — a high-risk task marred by an Islamic State terrorist attack last Thursday that killed 13 U.S. military service members and wounded 15 others who manned a vulnerable gate.

“The Marines and the soldiers that have for the last couple of weeks been helping consular officers man these gates and help process people in have been — did heroic work. And they had to make decisions in real-time about trying to help people get out,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters Monday.

“And a lot of lives were saved, and a lot of lives are now in a better place, and they’re going to have opportunities they couldn’t’ve had before, thanks to the work that these troops did, in concert with their State Department colleagues, at these very dangerous gates,” he added.

The multi-faceted terrorist attack that killed more than 100 people came as no surprise to military commanders as U.S. officials had enough information to know that they should warn Americans to stay away from the gates. “But the Americans decided to keep the gate open longer than they wanted in order to allow their British allies, who had accelerated their withdrawal timeline, to continue evacuating their personnel, based at the nearby Baron Hotel,” Politico reported, citing classified notes from a meeting of senior Defense Department officials.

The following day, Ukrainian forces moved through Kabul to find the group of stranded translators — which included not only Haqmal but another translator who assisted Globe and Mail journalists for 10 years.

“The convoy entered [the airport] because the Ukrainians came out,” Mohammed Sharif Sharaf, the Globe and Mail fixer, told the outlet. “We just sent them the plate numbers of our vehicles, … and they came to the local bazaar to find us. They said ‘Ukraine?’ we said, ‘Yes!’ and they took us inside.”

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That operation could be a feather in the cap of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is visiting Washington to meet Biden this week. “Our military, intelligence and diplomats have done a brilliant job,” Zelensky tweeted. “Ukraine does not leave its citizens in trouble in difficult times and helps others!”

It certainly won them some new Afghan friends. “The Ukrainian soldiers were angels for us,” Haqmal said. “They did an exceptional job. They have big hearts.”

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Tags: News, Foreign Policy, National Security, Ukraine, Afghanistan, War in Afghanistan

Original Author: Joel Gehrke

Original Location: Ukrainians rescue Afghans after US and Canada decline: Report

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Ukrainians rescue Afghans after US and Canada decline: Report – Yahoo News

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